December 12, 2010

The end

I have tried to remember but I just can't the week leading up to his death. Everything is meshing into one...him coding, his surgeries. I know he had 5 total (I think). He opened his eyes but he was never really responsive. He would turn his head toward you if you talked loud enough and pushed on him a little. He was sick....very, very sick.

This is going to be Friday and Saturday...his last two days that he was alive.

Friday, April 16th, 2010.

I worked this day like always because he was having a stable day. Not a bad day, but not a great day, but he was stable. Jack's dad was coming down to see him for the day and night. He was going to leave the next morning on the 17th. Brett got there and I went to the hospital around 6 that evening. The plan was for me to go there until 8 or so and then my friends were taking me somewhere. I just needed a little break. I was tired..I think I was anyway. I don't really remember. At about 8 I went and sat in Troys room with my Kindle. It was dimly lit in his room, the TV was on but no sound. I was reading. He was...well he was resting. Then I saw his heart rate go from 90, which was about his average, t0 126 very fast. I called the nurses in and called his mom. The nurse, who had never been on his case, came in and was just kind of baffled. She checked his feeding tube, and went to flush the line. I saw dark red, what I thought was blood and possibly bile on her hands when she backed away. That wasn't good. It also had a strange odor about it. She called in a doctor.

Let me back up. Saturday, April 17th, was Thunder Over Louisville so a lot of the docs were residents, a lot of the nurses were PRN nurses who didn't really know his case.

They ran some tests and told us he possibly could have had a heart attack, but there was no way of knowing. I really don't know that, but I'm not a doctor. That resident could not give us any answers other than his EKG showed signs of a heart attack, but his heart is now okay (even though his rate was in the 110s now). It was slowly coming down.

I called and cancelled with my friends, and the amazing people they are they showed up with chips and salsa. About midnight I felt it was safe to leave. I left with my friends and went to a bar. A freaking bar. The song Superman came on as we were leaving at 3 a.m. I was feeling the alcohol, mostly because I hadn't been eating much. I had to stay at my sisters because my ex-husband was staying at my house with our son until the next morning. My sister was out of town so I went to her place and crawled in bed. Troys mom called me at 6 a.m. and said he had a bad night. To be honest, I think I was still buzzing. That completely woke me up. I took a quick shower, dressed in a pair of dark jeans, and a seafoam green cableknight sweater with white Nike shox. I had my pearls in my ears and a white March of Dimes t-shirt under the sweater. Why do I remember that? I do remember I didn't wash my hair and I pulled it up. I did swipe on some mascara and some concealer.

I get to the hospital and I go in his room. He's okay for now, but he's just...I don't know something was different. He became a little more stable as in vital signs. Late afternoon a family friend brought in a crockpot of beef stew and some drinks. It tasted so good. I remember that ICU waiting room was so full. There was bad news all day the day before for family in there. A few familys we had grown close to.

I watched from Troys room as people were walking downtown getting ready for Thunder. It's an all day event. Troy, myself and our boys were supposed to be there. He even wrote it on his calendar. Later that evening people were coming into the waiting room, people we think weren't from our floor but trying to get a good view of the fireworks. The waiting room was the best view you could get. They moved us to a little room beside the waiting room with no windows, one table, a phone and thats about it. We didn't really like it.

His mom and I were outside the waiting room talking about what may happen when the doctor came out and told us Troy was septic, however they expected it. He had been septic before, but dialysis helped and he was on dialysis the night before but the line clotted off. They were supposed to restart dialysis that night, but a dialysis nurse has to start it, however, the line was clotted off, not his blood but the lines from the machine had clotted. What he needed was a new line started in the neck, but he was still bleeding and not clotting. It just wasn't safe enough to start a line there. however, at this point the safest thing to do was start a new line and start dialysis again in the morning.

They did that, got it started and he was still okay. When they did that they ran more labs. At around 7:30 his mom and I were in his room. I remember her and I just had a laugh about her putting the gloves on backwards. We were, at that point, slap happy and thought he would still be okay. He had to. He had been alive for 17 days so far. This man shouldn't have made it to the hospital and he had made it 17 days. He, at this point, had recieved over 300 blood products.

The doctor came and took us out of his room. She told us his liver had completely failed. The transplant team had been in earlier and said he wouldn't survive a transplant. He also eventually would need a kidney transplant. However, dialysis helps kidneys. nothing helps the liver. His liver was so mangled, still slightly bleeding and he had less than half of it. she called the transplant team again. they said no. We had less than 24 hours.

We made phone calls, we cried, we hugged, we sat by his bedside waiting. How do you WAIT for someone to die? Then what...go home? But we did. we sat and waited. His mom never left his side. He was, at that point, completely unresponsive. His eyes were fixed and dilated. He was actually already gone, but the meds were keeping him alive. His mom, stepdad and I agreed, don't remove anything but don't give him anything else. We were still on the fence about resuscitating him. His liver levels had gone so high that he was essentially gone. he had no head don't expect that. you don't expect someone to be "gone" when there is no head trauma.

His friends came in, they sat in the waiting room and then the fireworks started. I was in his room every 20 minutes for 5 to 10 minutes at a time. Other family had to go in and see him. The firework noises...ugh, I just couldn't look. The one time I did look a firework burst into a heart. I felt people staring at me. I couldn't look at anyone.

Some friends left. They didn't want to be there. That is totally understandable. But I couldn't leave. Around midnight I walked back into the ICU and his nurse sat with me while his mom was in his room. She was sleeping with her head against his bedrail holding his hand. The nurse told me that it wouldn't be much longer. His bottom number on his blood pressure was staying around 38. His heart rate was great, but when his BP number goes below 15, his heart would go next. He also hadn't been recieving enough oxygen. His oxygen saturation was anywhere between 48% to 98%. We thought we had 24 hours. We thought it would be the next day. We also thought, no hoped, that he would make it. He had surprised us before.

I walk in his room, sat on the other side of his bed and waited. When I saw his bottom number of his BP down to 20 I woke his mom and said it was almost time. We held his hands, we talked to him, I kissed him. At this point we were in gloves and a gown...I took mine off. I needed to touch his skin, kiss his cheek, kiss his hands. He was getting ready to code. The doctors and nurses walked in with a crash cart. His mom, stepdad and I didn't know what to do. She looked at me, I looked at her and we just kept holding his hand. The room was full. His aunts, uncles, half brother, dad, cousins and a few friends were right at the door.

It was the most miraculous thing I had ever seen. He was a Christian. I watched a man leave this world and see Jesus. I put my hand on my chest and I felt his heart stop beating, I saw him continue breathing after they turned off the vent and then I felt his chest go still. On April 18, Troy died while I held his hand. I told him to take care of my daughter and that I will see him soon.

I miss him so much. I love him...I will always love him. I think of him every single day. but how lucky I am that he picked me to be with him the rest of his life.

I'm sure I have left out some stuff, I just can't remember everything. I time.


  1. Oh Kelly. My heart aches deeply for you and Troy's family. I'm at a loss for words. I wish there was something that could be said to make things better... but we know "better" is elusive.

    I think about you guys all the time. I'm thankful Troy and Kate are together and at the same time tremendously saddened that you, Troy and Kate were taken from one other.

    Miss you Kelly and wish you moments of peace.

  2. There is no comfort in our world for tragedy like this, except the knowledge he is now in a world that comforts all wounds and knows no despair.